The Song Love Of J. Alfred Prufrock Analysis

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The poem “The Song Love of J. Alfred Prufrock” is written by T.S. Eliot in 1939. During this time period, the “late Victorian culture forbade the public expression of feeling” (McNamara 359). Eliot defies such principles and writes poems that contribute to the new era of poetry, the Modern Era. Eliot utilizes every aspect of the poem to exploit the hypocrisy of the people during the Victorian Era. Eliot develops this poem to expose the frustrations of the modern individual and the hypocrisies of the Victorian Era. McNamara notes that the poem ties “to particular notions of personality and selfhood that were dominant in the late nineteenth century” (359). The poem sets at first the streets of some city of England then to a fantasy gala or …show more content…
The poem opens with an epigraph from Dante’s Inferno, and in the excerpt Guido de Montefeltro confesses his shame because he knows that no one will return to earth with his confessions. This excerpt is essentially Prufrock’s assurance that he can entrust the reader with what he is about to disclose without feeling shameful, thus the actual poem opening with “Let go then, you and I.” The reader can then assume that there are two personas in the poem—the speaker (“I”) and a mysterious “you.” The title is evidence that is provided to prove that the speaker is Prufrock himself, thus it can be assume that Prufrock is the “I,” while the “you” is not quite clear yet. The epigraph suggests that Prufrock is comfortable confiding to a “different type of person.” The reader can make assumptions that the “you” is either the reader or, making assumptions from the ironic title again, a mysterious lover, but as the story progresses the mere “you and I” format starts to break and it is reveal that Prufrock is simply talking to himself. Samet Guven points out that if “you” is refered to Prufrock, then “you” can be interpreted as Prufrock’s ego speaking; an “ego [that] is conscious of the norms of the society and tries to repress his desires” (81). Again, as the reader progresses through the poem, the reader will immediately notice that the poem is not a romantic love song to Prufrock, but a gloomy poem that depicts Prufrock’s insecurities and

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